Pete runs through the woods batting away the branches and leaves with his arms. Everything is a blur: skin, green, brown, gray; and his breath seems a separate part of him. He moves too fast to look over his shoulder so he surges forward to the clearing before letting out a scream. “Out”, he yells, laughing, panting and turning in one motion. He puts his hands on his knees and hangs his head. He almost catches his breath when he feels something hit with the force of a bullet. He screams and grabs his side. .
“Dick! You can’t do that! I was in the clear”.
“I threw it when you were still in,” Thom’s smile is huge and crazed.
“I did! You were still in”.
“Idiot,” Pete lifts his shirt, exposing a red welt on his ribs. He feels something whip past his ear. “Come on! Quit it,” he looks up and sees Jimmy step out from behind another tree. Jimmy styles his next throw like a big league pitcher. It is fast and high.
The rock, about three inches in diameter, soars over his head and down the hill over the bar of the overpass. They all watch it moving through the air in slow motion, and then they hear a screeching sound: breaks ripping, metal against metal. The boys run to the bridge and look over the bar, their faces frightened and completely void of guilt. A car below has missed the old oak tree by inches but there is smoke in the air from the burning tires and the front windshield had a huge spider-web crack from one side to the other.
“Whoa,” Pete says. All three of them stand with their heads down and their mouths partly opened. They are all breathing heavily. They duck down, a quick reflex, when the driver-side door and then the passenger’s creak open. Two men hop out, “What the fuck?” “What the hell was it?” They look under and around the car, confused and jittery, adrenaline practically bubbling audibly.
“Look at the fuckin windshield”.
“Shit”. They look up in unison and spot the boys immediately.
“You little mother fuckers,” the smaller of the two launches up the hill towards them.
The boys are gone in a blink, birds at the sound of a rifle, each one in a different direction. They are-well experienced at being chased.